Former president Jacob Zuma File picture: Themba Hadebe/AP
The reinstatement of charges against former president Jacob Zuma has been roundly welcomed.

Political parties, key among them the official opposition, have claimed this as their victory and reward for their tireless fight for more than a decade.

Civil society organisations and ordinary people applauded this development as a positive sign of the end for Zuma and his cronies.

The impunity of the political and business elite is perceived to have crippled South Africa's law enforcement and accountability institutions. So it can be said that Friday was a good day for equality before the law and justice.

The pivotal and historic announcement by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams was hailed as proof that our criminal justice system and constitutional democracy still work.

While the discredited head of the NPA is unlikely to go down in history as a hero, his announcement on Zuma marks a major moment in our democratic era.

It was further proof of the “renewal” sparked by Cyril Ramaphosa’s taking over the presidency and opens another opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past associated with Zuma’s reign.

What does the announcement mean for our economy, trapped as it is in debilitating corruption?

What does it mean for our prospects of rooting out the scourge?

What does it mean to the average citizen, particularly the poor mired in poverty, unemployment and the consequences of poor service delivery (inflicted by a collusive tender business systematised at all levels)?

The Zuma Must Fall brigade must be on cloud nine now. The former president, the longest-serving in our democracy, has fallen out of the ANC’s leadership and the Union Buildings.

As his corruption, fraud and racketeering trial looms, he may well fall even further - into the prison system.

But will the rampant corruption fall with him?

South Africa is poised to renew and correct itself. A window of opportunity is open for institutions such as the NPA to begin or accelerate self-correction.

As exemplified by this matter, which dates back to 1995, the reality is that the dirt has been accumulating for years and has spread everywhere.

It will take time for a verdict to be heard on the Zuma matter. It will also take time and concerted effort for lasting advances to be made against corruption.

* Mazwi Xaba is the editor of the Sunday Tribune. 


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